PacB Group // Solar Solutions | Solar Technology l Renewable Energy


Solar Solutions | Solar Technology l Renewable Energy

Solar Solutions and the Technology Behind it

There are various types of solar solutions and they are often used in many ways, such as cooking food and heating water or generating electricity. They are occasionally observed as homemade spirals of pipes and hoses or reflective panels of glass or metal. But, they are more frequently identified as photovoltaic (PV) panels occupying roof space in residential areas. More advanced systems of PV modules may be noticed at cell phone tower installations, hospitals, upon the roofs of commercial buildings and in mining and many other industries. They might also have been observed in the less-seen form of concentrated solar power projects like those in Spain, India and Morocco, and even in certain areas of South Africa.

Many people may be able to identify the numerous devices used in solar solutions and how they are utilised. However, few might be able to explain the intricacies of how they work. Since the generation of electric power is a foremost concern for most South Africans currently, the leaders in power generation, PacB Power Solutions, discuss two ways of generating this power and the technology that makes them work.


2 Solar Solutions for Generating Electricity in South Africa

The importance of access to electricity for most of the nation is evident. At PacB Power Solutions, we understand the urgency to power not only domestic homes but neighbourhoods, towns, cities and the industries that feed and provide employment for them, thereby, assisting the nation. Here are two solar solutions which may accomplish this:


  1. Concentrated Solar Power (or CSP) CSP systems convert solar energy by using mirrors, magnifying lenses or reflective metals to concentrate a large area of sunlight onto one focal point. Power is generated when the concentrated light is converted into heat (usually by boiling water to create steam). This intense heat generates electricity when the steam is forced through a turbine under immense pressure.

    This method of producing electricity has many advantages, the most prominent being that it reduces an area’s carbon footprint, and is eco-friendly and sustainable in that if correctly positioned geographically, it has an abundant supply of sun. It is not fossil-fuel-reliant, so it will improve air quality and reduce the impacts of climate change. On a large scale, CSP solar solutions are powering neighbourhoods and entire towns and contributing to national grid capacities. In South Africa alone, it contributes 400MW to the country’s grid.

    One of the few disadvantages of CSP stations is that it requires a lot of water to generate enough steam to drive the turbines. It needs additional water to cool the system and, even more, to keep the reflectors clean to maximise the sun’s reflection. The drawback is that the facilities are usually set in dry, hot and sunny locations where water is scarce, putting a strain on that resource. It is also not conducive to localised domestic, urban or small-scale industry projects.

  2. Photovoltaic (PV) Solar Solutions and How They WorkPhotovoltaic solar arrays are conducive to small, medium and large-scale projects and can be seen at many locations. PV materials convert sunlight into electrical energy. A single PV cell only produces a small amount of electricity. However, many of them sandwiched together into a panel (or module) collectively produce much more. Positioned correctly, with the correct number of modules connected, and with the proper battery backup selection, the array of panels and energy storage can produce enough electricity to run almost anything during the day, night or when the weather is overcast.

The Technology Behind PV Systems

Although there is practicality and truth behind photovoltaic cells and their panels and arrays’ ability to generate electricity, many additional technological components need to be put in place for the power to be successfully used in a home or business. The larger the project, the more complicated and advanced this technology becomes.

To accurately install all the necessary elements to maximise the benefits of solar energy, our professionals at PacB Power Solutions need to apply their skills, expertise and many years of experience to deliver the best possible system that meets our clients’ needs, expectations and requirements. This is how we do it:


  • Mounting the PV Modules:

PV panels need to be securely mounted to a durable structure which can withstand the worst South African weather conditions and last for decades. The geographical location of the array has to be considered. In the southern hemisphere, arrays need to face North at an angle relative to the local latitude to maximise electrical load requirements.

Although roof-mounted panels suffice for domestic requirements, on large-scale projects, modules are either staged on these mounting structures or the grounds of the property. Tracking technology is available to move the panels in relation to the sun from East to West through the course of the day. Seasonal positioning technology may automatically position the panels from North to South to variate the latitudinal difference between summer and winter. While these technologies allow for optimum energy availability, they do add significantly to the initial investment.


  • Converting Current through Inverters:

Inverters convert the direct current (DC) produced by the modules into alternating current (AC) used by the county’s utility and that power appliances and electronics in a home or business. To optimise solar solutions, a battery pack is used to store energy for use after dark or on overcast days. Hybrid inverters are the best technology for this process as it diverts current from the panels to the batteries for storage and then supply power to the property through the battery array when necessary.

In a grid-tied (or Grid-Backup) system, where solar energy, battery power and the utility’s electricity grid are integrated, hybrid inverter technology can store power in separate battery packs for emergency use when load shedding and alternate weather conditions deplete the solar batteries simultaneously.


  • Battery Storage Technology

Our installation experts will determine the maximum load required to power the property through peak usage times both in winter and summer. This equation will dictate the minimum storage capacity of the battery backup and how long it will last. Historically, the cost of minimum battery requirements was the main deterrent for prospective solar energy investors.

However, due to technological advancements, the storage and load capacity of the modern lithium battery has reduced costs significantly. This has not only made solar solutions more affordable, but it has positively influenced the longevity of the battery between necessary charging periods.


Going Solo with Solar    

Solar solutions are an investment that will replace the utility’s inability to supply homes, businesses and industries with electricity. These investments will last for decades with little or no maintenance if they are professionally installed. At PacB Power Solutions, we provide professional advice and expert installations through service excellence. We specialise in power provision through industrial generators and solar energy, supplying products and services using the latest, cutting-edge technology. If you would like more information on our solar solutions, consult with PacB Power Solutions, your reliable, professional power provider.


Our qualified technicians offer support and advice in the selection of the right power solution for your needs by calculating your power requirements.

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